Attorney General Brad Schimel is seeking an emergency stay in a federal court ruling in a case challenging voting policies signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker between 2011 and 2015. “It would cause major disruption and voter confusion to require Defendants to change election procedures and inform the public of those changes, only to change the procedures back, and re-inform the public, after an appeal,” Schimel wrote in his request. The state’s request comes one day after lawyers representing One Wisconsin Institute, Citizen Action of Wisconsin and individual voters filed a motion of appeal with the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, although U.S. District Judge James Peterson’s ruling went heavily in their favor. In a decision released late Friday afternoon, Peterson found a series of voting changes signed into law by Walker over the last five years to be unconstitutional, but did not overturn the state’s photo identification requirement. Laws that limited in-person absentee voting to one location, limited early voting hours and eliminated weekend voting are unconstitutional, Peterson ruled. A 2013 law limiting hours for in-person absentee voting “intentionally discriminates on the basis of race,” he wrote.
Peterson, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014 in a move praised by Wisconsin Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, also overturned laws that increased the residency requirement for voters from 10 days to 28 days, prohibited distributing absentee ballots by fax or email and required “dorm lists” used as proof of residence to include citizenship information.
The judge also overturned a provision of the voter ID law banning the use of expired but otherwise qualifying student IDs at the polls.